Tags Posts tagged with "Tires"

Tires

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Food cart flat tires

Tires may seem like a minor subject when talking about food trucks, however, if you think that way, you would be incorrect. Because you make your living when your food truck can make it onto the streets, you should check your food truck’s tires for wear at least once a month. To determine whether you need to buy new tires, have your wheels balanced, have your wheels aligned, or  change your driving habits, simply read your tire treads for clues. The table below will show you what to look for.

ClueCulpritRemedy
Both edges wornUnder inflationAdd more air; check for leaks
Center treads wornOver inflationLet air out to manufacturer’s specifications
One-sided wearPoor alignmentHave wheels aligned
Treads worn unevenly, with bald spots, cups, or scallopsWheel imbalance and/or poor alignmentHave wheels balanced and aligned
Erratically spaced bald spotsWheel imbalance or worn shocksHave wheels balanced or replace shocks
Edges of front tires only wornTaking curves too fastSlow down!
Saw-toothed wearpatternPoor alignmentHave wheels aligned
Whining, thumping, and other weird noisesPoor alignment, worn tires or shocksHave wheels aligned or buy new tires or shocks
Squealing on curvesPoor alignment or underinflationCheck wear on treads and act accordingly

To determine what’s causing problems with your tires, try the following:

  • Look for things embedded in each tire. Do you see nails, stones, or other debris embedded in the treads? Remove them. But if you’re going to remove a nail, first make sure that your spare tire is inflated and in usable shape.

If you hear a hissing sound when you pull a nail, push the nail back in quickly and take the tire to be fixed. If you aren’t sure whether air is escaping, put some soapy water on the hole and look for the bubbles made by escaping air. If you’re still not sure whether the nail may have caused a leak, check your air pressure and then check it again the next day to see whether it’s lower. Tires with leaks should be patched by a professional. If the leak persists, get a new tire.

  • Look at the sidewalls. Check for deeply scuffed or worn areas, bulges or bubbles, small slits, or holes. Do the tires fit evenly and snugly around the wheel rims?
  • Look at the treads. Most tires have tread-wear indicators built into them. These bars of hard rubber are normally invisible but appear across treads that have been worn down to 1/16th of an inch of the surface of the tire (the legal limit in most states). If these indicators appear in two or three different places, less than 120 degrees apart on the circumference of the tire, replace the tire.

If your tires don’t show these indicators and you think that they may be worn below legal tolerances, place a Lincoln penny head-down in the groove between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire probably needs to be replaced.

To measure tread wear more exactly, place a thin ruler into the tread and measure the distance from the base of the tread to the surface. It should be more than 1/16 inch deep. (Note: If your front tires are more worn than your rear ones and show abnormal wear patterns, you probably need to have your wheels aligned.)

  • Pay attention to leaks. If you keep losing air in your tires, have your local service station check them for leaks. Sometimes an ill-fitting rim causes a leak. The garage has a machine that can fix this problem easily.

If the garage can’t find a leak, your rims fit properly, and you’re still losing air, you probably have a faulty tire valve that’s allowing air to escape. You can buy tire valves to replace the ones on your car. Look for the number molded into the base of the tire valves; then buy new ones that match it.

In the process of replacing the valve, you will lose most of the air from the tire, so either plan to do this job at a gas station where you can have access to an air hose, or have a mechanic replace the valve for you.

Follow these steps and procedures to better insure your chances of keeping your food truck on the road as much as you possibly can.

 

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Help is on the way!

Food trucks owners know all too well that any down time means a direct cut into their profit margin. As seen on the initial episode of season 2 of the Great Food Truck race, the Sky Tacos truck was eliminated due in part to a flat tire they received while en transit from California to Las Vegas Nevada, which got them into town much later than the other competitors.

flat tireThis dilemma is a regular occurrence in the food truck world, and can keep a truck from making a scheduled appearance at the best serving time during any given day. Depending on how quickly a repair can be completed, it may even keep a truck out of service for an entire day.

Goodyear announced last week that it was developing technology that would keep a passenger car or food truck’s tires rolling at optimum levels of pressure, eliminating the need for handheld gauges or stops at air pumps. This new feature, called Air Maintenance Technology, would be contained within the tire and would require no external monitoring systems.

“While the technology is complex, the idea behind the A.M.T. system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, a Goodyear executive, in a prepared statement. The manufacturer did not disclose any further details about the concept’s operating principle.

Self-regulating tire-pressure systems are not new. Such systems are common sights on the undersides of tractor-trailers, but they depend on the harmonious operation of various peripheral devices, including air pumps, filters and pressure valves. The Goodyear concept houses the tire-pressure regulation equipment, including a small pump mechanism, inside the tire itself.

Goodyear has not set a timeline for taking the technology to market, but the company said it planned to accelerate development, having secured a $1.5 million grant from the Energy Department this week. The money is intended explicitly for finding ways to apply Air Maintenance Technology to commercial trucks. Goodyear also was awarded a research grant of an undisclosed sum by the government of Luxembourg, where the company has an R&D center.

Optimal tire inflation contributes to a vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency and can prolong the life of the tire. Goodyear said that improper inflation could result in a 3.3 percent decrease in fuel economy, or roughly 12 cents per gallon, according to current pump prices.

We will keep you all informed as this technology fast tracks it’s way to the consumer market.

 

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